Thursday, September 19, 2013
Hamsters, gerbils, doctor’s appointments and children who “won’t know what to do” are no longer going to cut in on Joyce Lane during school drop-off and pick-up hours.
“Over the years,” explains Summerville Police Department Corporal R. Fowler, “the number of cars has grown…there are more and more cars and in addition, with more and more students in the district, the length of the bus ride has grown and more parents are driving their children to school.”
Consequently, the drop-off and pick-up points have become so congested that the very children parents are trying to protect are in jeopardy of getting hurt or worse.
Further, parents are parking a few blocks from the school and expecting their little ones to walk.
This, says Fowler, puts children at risk in today’s society.
“We have a tremendous number of sexual predators in Summerville,” she explained noting that this is the case all over, not just in Summerville, and children are at risk. She points out that 17A and many of the other main streets, are easy escape routes for someone to grab a child and run.
The problem is that cars line up on the highway right-of-way on Joyce Lane and when that is full on both sides, they then stop in the road and wait to pick up their child. Regular traffic cannot get through, cars turning off of 17A have near misses when they meet stopped/parked cars in the road and the children wend their way through all these cars on their way to theirs. Cars are jockeying to get out after picking-up/dropping-off their child while children are walking between them…it is a huge safety issue, says Fowler.
Further, some cars park in or block driveways and one resident was told “I’ll move my car after I pick up my child.”
The issue at SES is parents darting between cars and crossing the streets with their children instead of using the crosswalk.
Since the start of school the SPD officers have been trying for five weeks to educate parents as to safe pick-up and drop-off procedures. To help define the problem areas, signs were installed this week clearly defining the area where it is prohibited to stop. Signs will be installed along 17A south, across from Summerville Elementary, next week.
A letter was sent August 30 to Rollings Middle School and Summerville Elementary School explaining the issues, and letting the administration know about the signs and the fact that the rules would be enforced.
Parents need to be aware that enforcement isn’t lightweight. Citations carry fines ranging between $160 and $1,092 with the possibility of “points” being assigned to driver license record.
Disobeying Posted Sign or Signal – $237
Obstructing Streets/Sidewalks/Driveway – $160 to $1,092.50
Improper Stopping Vehicle in Roadway – $237.
But most important, says Fowler, is the safety of the children. Convenience isn’t worth a child getting hurt, she says.